Ewer

Blue earthenware ewer with a vine-like handle, decorated in white with floral designs and a scene of two robed figures holding an umbrella

Ewer
Possibly forming a set with Basin
Nevers, ca. 1680
Faience (tin-glazed earthenware)
H. 27 1/2 in. (70 cm), W. 13 in. (33 cm)
Cat. 18
© Christophe Perlès

 

This ewer and the recently discovered basin are the most beautiful known pieces made with the famous dark blue background known as “Nevers blue,” invented in the second half of the seventeenth century in Nevers. Their shapes recall silver pieces used at the court of Louis XIV while their painted decoration — with figures wearing turbans, a shepherdess spinning a distaff, and peddlers — is inspired by early seventeenth-century French literature, including the novel L’Astrée by Honoré d’Urfé, published between 1607 and 1627.

These two exceptional pieces were originally intended for display during a banquet on a credenza, temporarily set up either inside a royal or princely residence, or outside, in a lavish jardin à la française.